Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cinder - a delightful mix of familiar and new

Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles
Marissa Meyer
Audiobook read by Rebecca Soler
Macmillan (January 2012)

Review by Lyda Morehouse

Cinder is a retelling of the classic fairy tale of Cinderella set in a future China (which, of course, is a nice homage as the story supposedly originated there.) Our heroine, Cinder Lin, has been recast as a cyborg scraping out a living as a mechanic in the markets of New Beijing. A plague ravages the Commonwealth and war with the Lunar Queen brews on the horizon. The world is rich with such science fictional details as those while still remaining true to the pastoral, fairy tale feel of the original. As you might expect, all the players are there: the evil stepmother, the charming prince, the fairy godmother, the pumpkin-colored chariot…. There are, of course, many new events and surprises, which is the fun of stories like these. Will Cinder lose a shoe at the ball or a cybernetic foot?

I enjoyed the story immensely. Even though, at times, foreknowledge of the fairy tale caused me to yell out, “Get to the ball, already!” There were still plenty of new plot/character twists to keep me guessing. The ending, in fact, is not at all what I would have expected.

The audio addition came with a few technical difficulties. The files I received were labeled like this: 1-01 CD 1a.mp3, 1-02 CD 1b.mp3, etc., which meant that, thanks to that extra space (not marked with a _), my mp3 player organized all the files by the last designation, so I had a jumble of 1a, 2a, 3a, etc. I ended up having to jump around a lot to get the story in order. This was made more complicated by the fact that my mp3 player just wanted to continue on to the next one, so I’d have to guess when a section was over. I’m not sure that would be a problem with all players, however.

Regardless, I found the story worth the hassle. Rebecca Soler does an excellent job reading. I was never thrown out of the story, even though she attempts several accents, including Australian and British, and lowers her voice when reading male lines.

As someone who is a slow reader, I tend to really enjoy the occasional audio book or story podcast. I would definitely recommend this Young Adult novel on audio for those who still enjoy the pleasure of being read to, as is, perhaps, fitting with a fairy tale like this one.

No comments: